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One thing guys easily forget when it comes to their skincare and grooming routine is adding one of the best lip balms into the steps. If you’re developing your first skincare routine, lip care should be a part of it, and that’s straight from the mouths of dermatologists with whom SPY has spoken.
In terms of the skin itself, moisturizing your lips is just as important as moisturizing your face, maybe even more, since lips are extra sensitive to dryness and potential infection. We know sometimes pulling out a balm, puckering your lips, and lathering on a juicy layer of lip balm can make you feel uncomfortable out in public, but we’d recommend the 15 seconds of awkwardness over dry, cracked lips.
So what’s the best lip balm for men to use today? Well, in a crowded world of products with ever-changing ingredients and ethics, it can be tough to pinpoint who’s got what. To help keep your lips hydrated and healthy, SPY set out to find the best lip balms on the internet to take the guesswork out of the equation. Read on to find out if your favorite product made our list.
As always, we like to keep skincare routines as painless as possible — most of the time, simple works best. That’s why we chose products that could easily fit into your current regimen and, in this case, your pocket.
The Best Lip Balms At a Glance
Lip Balm vs Chapstick: What’s the Difference?
Just as Finkle was Einhorn, Chapstick is lip balm. If you’ve never seen “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” that won’t make sense. But in a nutshell, it’s a situation of American English not caring about the rules of language.
Pay attention next time somebody asks you for a tissue, bandage, or soda. They might ask you for a “Kleenex,” “Band-Aid,” or “Coke.” Like these, Chapstick is also a trademarked brand name that’s been adopted as the common monicker for its product category — lip balm. And while this is confusing, generally speaking, most will understand what somebody’s talking about when they say they “need some chapstick.”
Why You Should Use Lip Balm Daily
As far as how often you should be applying lip balms, there is no limit.
Dermatologists we’ve spoken to have said you can apply lip balm as often as you need it. Typically, one to three applications are normal, but you’re the best judge of how much you need. If you’re turning the lip balm into an intermeal snack, then it might be too much.
But dry, cracked lips are unhealthy, and no, constantly licking them isn’t a good substitution. In fact, that actually dries them out. You see, lips are actually a mucus membrane and a literal entry point into your body.
Dr. Azza Halim, a multi-specialist physician with a focus in aesthetic medicine, reminded us that “our lips lack oil glands, therefore, the lips are unable to retain moisture,” putting them more at risk for dryness. The rest of your skin has oil and sweat glands, but the lips do not.
Applying lip balm regularly throughout the day keeps your lips protected from dryness and can even keep them from getting sunburned. A few of the balms we tested were great for SPF protection, but you can also check out our full list of the best lip balms with SPF.
Picking the Lip Balm for Men
If you’re suffering from daily dry lips and you’re in the market for a new lip balm or chapstick, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase:
- Pay attention to what’s in your lip balm. Many of the products we tested were natural and chemical-free. Finding vegan lip balms is trickier because a common ingredient used is beeswax. Now, some lip balms are “beegan,” which means that beeswax is the only animal byproduct and is humanely sourced. Keep an eye out for aloe and ingredients that are natural and help soothe skin or lip membranes.
- You’ll find tube applicators, stick applicators, and jars that require you to use your finger for lip balm application. This is a personal preference, but the ease of use makes a difference in how often you will actually apply your lip balm. Stick-type lip balms with a twist applicator are some of the SPY team’s favorites.
- You’ll also notice that many lip balms have different consistencies. Some are thicker than others. The SPY team is often split on their preferences. A thicker lip balm makes your lips feel velvety and smooth, but can also be a mess when it comes to application.
Dr. Halim recommends lip balms with ingredients like Vitamin E, castor seed oil, and coconut oil to help lock in moisture. Organic beeswax, for example, is an antibacterial substance that also helps seal in moisture.
To help you in your decision process, we gathered the best lip balms with natural ingredients, various applicators, and consistencies. Every single product featured in this article has been tested by a member of the SPY grooming team, and you’ll find many of the products below in our own medicine cabinets.
Why It’s The Best: Not only is it affordable, but this lasts all day long. No wonder Carmex has been around for so long.
|Core Ingredients||Beeswax and lanolin (animal byproduct)|
Carmex Lip Balm is a staple product in the industry. They’ve offered protection for lips for as long as most SPY Editors can remember. The fresh cherry tube offers SPF sun protection and water resistance for up to 80 minutes.
There’s a reason Carmex is the OG. It takes one application to keep lips moisturized for most of the day. The cherry flavor was very nostalgic for us to smell and taste, like what you’d expect from a ’90s playground popsicle. Typically at SPY, we’re not for overbearing scents or flavors in our skincare products, but this was pleasant.
Carmex lip balm isn’t too thick but definitely feels like it’s giving your lips a good coat. We wouldn’t mind if it were a little thicker, but the proof is in how long it lasts.
We’re also big fans of the classic twist applicator. It’s easy to use and doesn’t get your hands messy while applying the balm.
- Enjoyable Flavor
- Easy to use and apply
- Few applications needed
- Uses animal byproducts (lanolin)
|Core Ingredients||Vitamin E|
Chapstick isn’t just an OG lip balm player — it’s a household name. They’ve been around for 130 years saving our lips from chapping and cracking. We tested the SPF version in the easy-to-use twist applicator that offers the eight-hour moisture of the original Chapstick with the added bonus of sun protection. They also use an aloe extract that helps soothe your lips and keeps them nice and comfy.
We’re always fans of the added SPF bonus when it comes to lip balms because lips are one of the last body parts you think of when it comes to sun protection.
There isn’t much flavor when it comes to this version, but we didn’t mind it. It just felt like a silk coat on the lips after application. Our team noticed it working through most of the day. We’re not sure we exactly clocked a full eight hours, but it was certainly doing at least a half-day’s work before reapplication.
- Easy to use and apply
- Lasted a majority of the day
- Very affordable
- Uses animal products
|Core Ingredients||Beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil|
Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, dating back to 1991 in Maine, made our top three because of its attention to sustainability and natural ingredients. Their mix of ingredients helps condition skin and moisturize lips simultaneously.
The SPY team is a huge fan of Burt’s Bees lip balm because we found it very easy to apply and the peppermint flavor left a nice tingle on the lips. This lip balm is a bit thicker than the previous ones we tested, but that helps it last all day. While we like to think that the best lip balms for men are free of animal products, Burts products are “beegan,” meaning they only contain products from bees; in this case, beeswax. With that said, we appreciate that Burt’s beeswax is responsibly sourced and all other ingredients are natural.
- Responsibly sourced beeswax
- Pleasant flavors
- Easy application
- Waxier than most balms we tested
|Core Ingredients||Aloe Vera, coconut oil|
Sun Bum claims that this is their best lip balm. It features aloe vera and coconut oil to help soothe lips and keep them moisturized. We learned that other than this product, there are lip balms with SPF available because, well, it’s in the brand’s name.
The CocoBalm is one of the best lip balms for men that we tested because of its pleasant scent and light soothing sensation. We liked the Aloe Wave flavor, which surprised us. It was truly like tasting a small ocean current if that ocean was made up of liquid aloe — we mean that in the best way possible.
The SunBum Cocobalm is a thinner lip balm and even though our team needed a few more reapplications than average, the flavor made up for it. We’d definitely keep this in our Dopp kits or desks as a go-to.
- A unique and refreshing flavor
- Smooth finish
- Not super thick and messy
- More than 1-2 applications to last throughout the day
|Core Ingredients||Green tea|
We like the sound of an Intense Therapy Lip Balm. Jack Black pays close attention to what your lips need to stay healthy, hydrated, and protected. They packed their balm with loads of natural ingredients including Green Tea, Vitamin E, Shea Butter, and Avacado Oil.
This was one of our favorites. We’re suckers for a minty lip balm because that tingle makes it feel like it’s working. And we learned that Jack Black knows what they’re doing because, not only did we forget about dry lips after one swipe, but their lip balm also lasted all day.
With their thicker formula, they recommend an application every 2 hours and if you’re heading into the sun, be sure to apply 15 minutes beforehand for optimal results. The tube is also a great applicator for avoiding messiness — we loved it.
- Minty flavor and sensation
- Immediate soothing effects
- FDA-Approved skin protectant
- A bit pricier, but that could be worth it.
|Core Ingredients||Beeswax, sunflower seed oil|
Did everyone know that Eos stood for “evolution of smooth?” That was news to us and it gave the brand a whole new meaning in our eyes. Eos created this flavor-forward lip balm to help protect and soothe your lips — but of course. But beyond that, they specifically made this lip balm for men with sensitive skin and all-day moisture.
The minute you pop the top of this balm, the scent of strawberry sorbet hits your nostrils. It’s noticeable and transportive, for us, to a summer barbeque, that is. If you’re not a big fan of flavor or scent when it comes to your skincare products, you may need to skip it.
We actually enjoyed the flavor along with this lip balm’s thinner and less messy formula. As much as we wanted it to last all day, it did feel like we had to reapply a little more than expected. Now, keep in mind that there is no limit to how much you should apply, but in terms of all-day moisture, we expect 1-2 applications for the most convenience.
- Tasty Flavor
- Perfect for Sensitive Skin
- Gluten-Free and Cruelty Flee
- More than two applications needed for the average lips
|Core Ingredients||Petroleum jelly|
We like to think of Vaseline as the ancestor of lip balm. It’s made with their Vaseline® Jelly that certainly prevents dry lips and locks in moisture. You also finish off with a nice, natural-looking gloss, like two little doughnuts fresh off the glazing table.
This gives us memories of the old tub of Vaseline that would live in random rooms of your childhood home. Anytime anything was dry, you dipped into a bit of that jelly. You know what? It works. It’s a bit of a messier application, but Vaseline does do what it’s supposed to for your lips. It was one of the best lip balms back then, it’s one of the best now, and we’re willing to bet this will still be one of the best lip balms when we’re gone (barring an inevitable petroleum crisis).
- Great for stocking around the house, car, and work
- Messy application
|Core Ingredients||Aloe vera, squalane|
Kiehl’s developed this lip balm as a fragrance-free formula to help soothe and smooth dry lips. Kiehl’s incorporates Squalane, which is derived from olives and absorbs into the skin to keep it soft and supple. Their formula was noticeably light and easy to apply.
We’ve loved a lot of what we’ve tried from Kiehl’s. Their products have always performed well, be it a face wash, an under-eye cream, or a face mask, without being too extravagant, and the same stands for their lip balm. This lip balm reminded us of a light Vaseline-like formula providing the same benefits but with less thickness and mess.
- Light Formula
- Easy to add to your daily routine
- Not proven to be cruelty-free
|Core Ingredients||Fatty acid blend|
(Malin + Goetz) was one of the most unique lip balms we tried for this review. It’s a gel base, making it slightly more viscous than the others we tried, and they’ve incorporated fatty acids to help nourish and condition lips. But get this — it tastes like a fresh mojito.
The mojito flavor is a unique twist. It’s a bit more limey than mojito-y, but either way, that just isn’t something our team is used to in lip care. Other than the flavor, the lip balm was quite smooth.
The gel formula definitely makes it easy to apply and easily coats your lips. We enjoyed doing the usual lip smack during our testing to spread it and will definitely continue to explore the mojito flavor.
- Smooth application
- Easy to apply
- Lasts for several hours
- Made in US
- Some people don’t like mojitos, somehow
|Core Ingredients||Jojoba oil|
WELEDA formulated their mostly natural lip balm with jojoba oil, rose extract, shea butter, and a touch of beeswax to help nourish lips. When applying the lip balm, we found notes of vanilla and rose essential oils and enjoyed the waxy finish. The immediate sensation was very restorative.
The SPY team loved the initial feeling of this lip balm. It felt like we were going to be set for the whole day. Unfortunately, it did feel like we had to reapply every hour or so. Maybe it’s because we fell in love with the initial sensation, but the dry lip thing started to happen again shortly after initial use. It could be because we just wanted more — the jury’s still out.
The slight flavor and scent did remind us of rose and honey. That was a pleasant experience and we’d keep this in our bags just to continue experiencing that first touch.
- Great scent and flavor
- Initial feel and application
- Nourishing ingredients
- Effective duration
|Core Ingredients||Miracle Broth™|
Okay — if you’re not familiar with La Mer, you should know that it’s like the Gucci of skincare. Their lip balm is formulated with what they have coined as their Miracle Broth™, and notably, without a lot of chemicals and other ingredients that we can’t pronounce. That’s great, we loved that.
The Miracle Broth™ incorporates ingredients like sea kelp, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients to bring skin back to a healthy state. The broth they use undergoes a fermentation process to unlock its best properties. As a whole, our team was kind of lost amidst the high-end sales pitch for the broth, but we loved how it made our lips feel, so we’ll take it.
At this price point, the experience was everything you would think. The La Mer lip balm is velvety and makes your lips feel extravagant with a hint of mint. It did require a finger application, which can get messy. Luckily, it’s fairly thick so you can make it last.
To be totally honest, we’d dunk our lips in a vat of this stuff. It’s everything we would want in a luxury lip balm. One of SPY’s Editors has gone as far to say that he’s gone to bed with split lips and woken up with brand new ones in the dead of a dry Boston January.
- Velvet texture
- A pleasing hint of mint
- Lip balm for sensitive skin
- High Price point
- Finger application
|Core Ingredients||Antioxidants, natural emollients|
Glossier is another brand that has been in the skincare game for quite some time. We were excited to test out the mint balm dotcom on a good recommendation. Their lip balm uniquely doubles as a skin salve to help heal damaged skin. The dense waxy formula helps keep the lip balm in place and the unique flavors make it one of the most noticeable sensations when applied.
We loved the mint flavor. And we have to agree with the brand when they say “balm (bomb) dotcom,” they’re not kidding. It reminded us of mint chocolate chips, which most of us really loved. We noticed our lips staying moist and enjoyably waxy for the majority of the day.
- Great flavor options
- Enjoyable texture
- Skin healing properties
- Higher price point
How We Determined the Best Lip Balm
We spent several weeks testing out each lip balm for men who are looking for relief by adding them to our daily skincare routines. It usually takes 1-2 days of testing skincare products to register any new effects they have on the skin. Luckily, with lip balm, the effects are immediately noticeable. We’ll continue testing and updating our list of the best lip balms.
To determine which were worthy of being called the best lip balms, these are the factors we sought:
Chemicals – Each lip balm scored higher for ingredients that DID NOT make it into the formula. Our team prefers natural products over the bad stuff, as you should as well. We do keep in mind that some chemicals and manufactured products are required to preserve lip balms.
Animal Friendly – We scored higher for lip balms that didn’t use animal products and are cruelty-free. In this case, many of the lip balms used beeswax, but most companies source it in a way that does not harm or endanger bees. Lanolin is also a common animal product that helps give balms their texture and benefits.
Sun Protection – Because sun protection is key to protecting your skin and lips, we scored products with built-in SPF higher.
Number of Applications – While most lip balms advise consumers to apply as needed without a limit, we did rank those that didn’t require constant reapplication with higher scores. We found that the best performers only needed one to two applications throughout the day to keep lips from getting too dry.
Why Trust SPY When Choosing the Best Lip Balm
Finding effective skincare products is what SPY does best. We put in the time to research what’s available online and in-person looking for the best new and familiar brands to see if the reviews are legit.
You can also take comfort in knowing that SPY has male reviewers on the team who actually care about their skin and lips and prefer not to walk around all crusty. We’re also not afraid to be truthful because we want to make sure the best lip balms make it into your skincare routines and daily carries.
Other than lip balms, SPY has reviewed every other vertical in the men’s grooming space. Recently, we reviewed the best moisturizers for men, the best beard balms, and even the best skincare brands, so you can build a comprehensive skincare routine.
If you’re interested, you can read more about How We Test Products at SPY.
About the Author: David Komisarchik
SPY writer, David Komisarchik, is a New York transplant from Denver, Colorado. Starting with style content on social media, David enjoys creating photos, videos, and written content to help guys look and feel their best.
Recently, David launched his own digital content agency to encourage and assist creators and business owners capitalize on digital content. You can connect with him on Instagram